Updated: Jun 17
By Najma Aden
Medicine based dramas and shows are not uncommon on our tv screens. Doctors and nurses are painted as invincible heroes who always have the means and capabilities to save patients with the most outlandish and unheard-of ailments. Hospitals set the scene for whirlwind forbidden romances between medical colleagues- I mean what other use could the on-call rooms have 🤭. Staircases and empty corridors serve as the backdrop for emotional confessions of love or hurt (1).
Tv shows such as Grey’s anatomy or Holby City introduced medicine to so many of us, but their depiction of medicine and its practice can be argued to be leaning towards… fantasy 👀.
(Figure 1; Meredith Grey making a fool of herself for a man she’s known for not very long (I don’t care that he’s mcdreamy okay where’s her pride? 🤦🏽♀️))
There is so much medical media out there to consume, so I thought I would recommend a few of the good ones!
Pandemic: A Netflix docuseries 🦠
Released on Netflix earlier this year, timing so perfect it’s creepy, this series explores the efforts of individuals around the globe to prepare for what was then a seemingly inevitable epi/pandemic. Filmed before Covid 19’s debut, the show tells the story of a doctor in Jaipur, who sees numerous patients with swine flu, a strain of the influenza virus which wreaked havoc on the world just a hundred years ago. It then switches to a doctor in the United States, who is trying to prepare the New York hospitals for a potential respiratory illness outbreak. Also featured are a duo in San Francisco trying to create a vaccine that accomplishes immunity against all types of the flu and a retired nurse providing flu shots at ICE camps, amongst others.
This series highlights that the difficulties facing these individuals wasn’t only the pandemic on the horizon, but also a fatal lack of resources and manpower (as experienced by the solitary doctor working in a hospital in Oklahoma), anti-vaxxers, or a difficulty in acquiring funding for projects that could potentially save millions of lives.
Amidst the confusion you might feel during these corona times, this docuseries can provide some context to our current climate. If you’re an applicant, Pandemic can give you some unique talking points for your future interviews!
24 hours in A and E 🏥
This show has been airing close to a decade, documenting the stories of those who pass through the Accident and Emergency department of a busy London hospital; from children who’ve come in due to a mishap in a school playground, to people involved in near-fatal sporting accidents.
Cameras follow the patients, their families, and the workers in the hospital; consultants, nurses, specialists, porters etc. The show highlights how such a diverse team working together impacts patient care and outcome. Medicine is so much more than just diagnosing, treating, prescribing etc. A patient’s wellbeing depends heavily on their emotional status too. Whether it’s a nurse having a friendly conversation with the patient while beginning their treatment, or the radiologist cracking a joke while prepping the patient for an X ray, adding that human touch can make all the difference.
You’re shown people in their most vulnerable times, and how they and their families cope. 24 hours in A&E shows scenes occurring in emergency departments nationwide, bringing you one step closer to medicine in its most authentic practice.
Junior doctors; on the front lines 🩺
The BBC sent a camera crew into Salford Royal hospital to document 6 new junior doctors traversing the beginning of their medical career. Fresh out of university, these individuals tackle new responsibilities and experiences, as well as trying to cope with long working hours and the resulting stress.
Whether it be repetitive DREs (2), or getting quizzed by their supervising consultant, the series shows how this group of doctors attempts to deal with these challenges, as well as showing how they actively set out to improve and grow to become better doctors
This year’s graduating class had to go through this experience a lot earlier than usual, due to the Covid-19 crisis. It seems difficult enough already, but when you throw a pandemic into the mix? I can only sympathize.
This show can familiarize you with what your life beyond medical school might look like! We all know the structure of training after graduation, but you might have heard less about the process of adjusting to a new hospital environment, new colleagues, and new challenges.
I personally found this series to be incredibly motivating! I am so excited for when my time comes!!
These are just a few of the shows that would be a good watch for medics and prospective medics alike (but if you want something binge-able and dramatic, I recommend the first season of the Good Doctor 👨🏻⚕️ 👀).
Let me know if you’ve already seen these shows, and what you thought of them in the comments👇🏽
(2) DRE stands for digital rectal exam, which involves inserting your index finger into the patients back passage to assess the area. It is a task often left to the juniors.